Mark and I are proof that old dogs can learn new tricks. After lots of trial and error we are finding our way around YouTube, a new camera and video editing software. And our marriage is still intact!
As small small-business owners, we don’t have the budget to do much advertising. I looked into print advertising and realized I could either hire a part-time employee or I could do a monthly ad in a local paper. I didn’t do the ad. But I did decide that we had to start being more creative in letting the community know who we are.
I started this blog and learned how to post on Facebook. We’ve done some store events –super-fun! And now we’re trying our hand at making videos. We’re hoping videos can be a way to address common questions we hear from customers. Our second video is about how to use our Brown Bag fertilizer. It’s great fertilizer for our clay soil, but -apart from coverage information- there are no instructions on the bag. Now we can direct our customers to our video to see how we set our spreader when we apply Brown Bag.
We have a bunch to learn. On the most recent video I was so intent on getting Mark in focus, I didn’t realize I also had the tripod in the shot. I tried to hide it in ‘post production’ but boogered-up and the tripod pops into frame for about a second. I’m telling myself that getting content posted is more important than perfection. I’d never post anything if I waited until I was fully competent. –I think there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.
If you have any suggestions for future videos please let me know and I’ll see what we can do. (Also, Bo is sad that Mark’s video is getting more plays than his. You can watch Bo dig a carrot at Gaddy’s youtube channel.)
It starts to feel like spring really is just around the corner when the young chicks arrive at our store. The first batch of chicks came in the mail this Thursday. We have Barred Rocks, Golden Sex Links and Black Australorps. (All the Ameraucanas already found new homes.) Plus we expect new chick deliveries every two weeks until April.
Mark, Zaki and I set up a little display of a small chick brooder you could make at home. We even made a short video of the process.
If you’re interested in learning more about raising chicks, or if you already have a backyard flock and want to talk chickens with an expert, you’re invited to our first ever Chick Day on Saturday March 3rd. Rob Cunningham from Coyote Creek Organic Farm will be here from 1-3pm to talk chickens. He’s even going to give away some door prizes. The only cost for this event is we’re asking you to bring your own chair. We’ve got plenty of space in the back, just not plenty of seating.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to host some sort of educational event about raising chickens at Gaddy’s, but I’ve never been organized enough to make the idea a reality during the busy spring months. This year, Ron Cunningham from Coyote Creek Organic Farm has come to my aid. Ron has graciously agreed to come out to Gaddy’s and teach a couple of short chicken classes for us on March 3rd. He’s doing the ‘beginner’ class from 1-2pm. In this class Ron will talk about what you need to raise chicks. It’s a great class if you have new chicks or are thinking about getting some. The second class, from 2:15-3:15pm, will focus on things helpful to know when managing mature layers in a backyard setting. Come to one or both classes. It’s a free event. We’ll even have some feed and door prizes to give away. The only catch is–please bring your own lawn chair or folding chair. We have plenty of space, just not plenty of chairs.
Now that we’ve warmed up from last week’s ice-pocalypse, I’m ready to get out in the garden. First on my list will be getting my potatoes ready to plant. If you’ve never planted spuds before, now’s the year. They’re easy to plant and so much fun to harvest. Here’s a link to last year’s article on how to get potatoes ready for planting. https://gaddys.com/2017/01/13/seed-potatoes/
And here’s a picture of our potatoes sitting next to our new purple check-out station.
Looking for a way to keep your resolutions? Try signing up for a CSA from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. You can pickup your share every Wednesday straight from Gaddy’s!
Johnson’s Backyard Garden (JBG) is an organic farm that has grown from a family project in an Austin backyard to a bona fide farm large enough to provide fresh produce to Texans from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio and areas in between–including Pflugerville! Mark and I first became enamored of Johnson’s Backyard Garden when we visited their booth at the Texas Farmer’s Market last spring. The JBG booth was so packed with people and produce, we had to wait in line to get inside. It was worth it! Although we had a garden, JBG had grown lots of interesting veggies that we hadn’t even thought of growing ourselves.
If you’ve ever thought of signing up for a CSA, now is the time to do it. Joining in January helps the CSA plan for and pay for spring. Plus you get to enjoy some great produce. And if that’s not enough, JBG is extending a great offer to first-time or renewing members. Add “getcookin1” at checkout and receive one CSA share free with your subscription. To sign up click here.
Mark and I are still planting our market garden in the back lot of the store, but this year we are being realistic about the amount of time we have to work in the garden. 2018 is going to be a year of changes for us. We are in the process of adding to our sales floor and incorporating new shelving into the store that we purchased from Zinger Hardware (so sad to see them go). This leaves us even less time for gardening than we had last year, so I’m doubly excited to partner with JBG because I want to keep fresh, organic produce a part of our store’s mission. And, if you’d like to volunteer out in the garden please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy for any extra hands.
One of my favorite chores at the store this time of year is to water the Christmas trees. At least twice a day we walk through the tree area and spray the foliage of the Fraser Firs to keep them nice and fresh and hydrated. We also keep them under the shade cloth to protect them from the sun.
Once you get a cut Christmas tree home, here are a few tips on how to keep it fresh throughout the holiday season.
- When we sell a tree we will cut the base of the tree off, perpendicular to the trunk, before it is taken home. Keep this cut as it is. Don’t ‘chisel down’ the tree to make it fit your stand. Don’t drill a hole into the base of the tree. And don’t take off bark to make it fit the stand. The tree will drink in water best from the outermost layers of wood so they are important to leave as is.
- Keep your tree in a type of tree-stand that holds water. Lots of water. Stands should be large enough to hold about 1 quart of water for each inch of tree trunk diameter.
- Check the water at least once a day. Make sure the water level is high enough that the bottom of the tree is covered.
- Keep your tree far from sources of heat like heat system vents, fireplaces, or a sunny window. Use low-heat lighting like mini lights or LED lights.
Our trees look especially good this year. We have Fraser Firs in a 6-7ft size ($49.99) and a 7-8ft size ($74.99). Please let us know if you have any questions. 512-251-4428
Mark hasn’t yet tired of asking customers if they want to add some chicken poop to their feed order. Mark’s not going crazy, he’s just having fun with our new line of lip balm called “chicken poop.” And no need to worry, there’s no actual chicken poop in this lip balm. Jamie, who makes the stuff, says one time she complained to her grandfather that she had chapped lips. Her grandfather told her to put some chicken poop on them. That way she’d stop liking her lips.
Jamie’s company also makes a darn good solid hand salve and an all natural deodorant which they call a “defunkifier.” Isn’t the packaging wonderful?
Please save the date. Santa & Mrs. Claus are headed to Gaddy’s on Saturday, November 25th from 1-3pm. I know this is a busy weekend, but we hope you’ll stop by with your pets (or children) and take a quick picture with Santa. There’s no charge for taking pictures. Bring your own camera and we’ll provide the rest. And if you want us to help take some pics we’ll be glad to assist. (BTW . . . Santa Ron is well worth the trip. See photo below.)
I’m hopeful the crisp cool mornings we’ve been waking up to lately mean Fall really is here and we can pack up our shorts for the season. My tomatoes are setting fruit and the cool-season greens Wade and I planted are experiencing a growth spurt. While I’m not going to be able to fill the vegetable display like I was in the Spring, I’m starting to bring in a nice bit of produce after a long hot dry spell.
The great pumpkin experiment was a dud. It turns out you can’t successfully grow pumpkins in the middle of summer in Texas. Wade and Kaleb and I fussed over rows and rows of pumpkin plants, watered, weeded, and fought bugs for a couple of hard months, all for some pretty puny results. We’re enjoying the Fall atmosphere our meager group of pumpkins are providing us though, and consider the experience a lesson learned.
Along with the cooler weather, I’m looking forward to some Halloween fun. Mark and I and our daughter, Becky signed up to participate in the Food Drive on Main St. We’ve got our dog-themed booth decoration all ready to go and are just waiting for Tuesday evening to give out some candy. Right now I’ve got the big cardboard dog decoration perched on top of the display of the new line of dog food we brought in called Zignature. It is a fabulous limited-ingredient dog food boasting no grain, no potatoes and no corn. Next week we should also be getting Taste of the Wild’s new limited-ingredient food.
If you are lucky enough to have pecan trees in your landscaping, this is the time of year to start looking for pecans on the ground. A mature pecan tree can produce 40 to 50 pounds of pecans on a good year. The pecan trees in our yard were planted by my in-laws over 30 years ago. With a little maintenance, a little fertilizer and a bit of water over the summer, they do well by us. Over the weekend Mark and I gathered as many pecans as we could find. And since I still had most of last year’s pecans yet to shell, we decided to make use of the beautiful day yesterday to haul all our pecans over to Nutcracker Station in Bertram to have them cracked. If you make an appointment they can crack while you wait. It was well worth the trip. Now I have plenty of pecans to cook with all year long.
Here is a pecan picker-upper that I highly recommend–it will save your back. All you do is firmly roll it over the ground, pushing the pecans through the wires. When the hopper is almost full, you gently separate the wires and the pecans will drop out. Frank demonstrated this for me.
And here’s a link to the Nutcracker Station in Bertram. Mark and I had a great time walking through the downtown section of Bertram while our pecans were being cracked. It was like stepping back in time and it was only a 45 minute drive from Pflugerville.